Friday, January 27, 2006

End of the Spear

"End of the Spear"I was surprised this week when I learned that "End of the Spear" was playing locally. Because I had read somewhat mediocre secular reviews of this religious film, I went to see it today hoping I might have something more positive to say.

The film tells a remarkable true story about five American missionaries who make contact with the Waodani tribe in Ecuador and are speared to death soon after their first contact. Their surviving families continue to reach out to the violent tribe and break the cycle of violence that had been threatening the tribe with extinction. I've blogged on some other videos and resources that tell the same story over recent months (here and here). "End of the Spear" is a dramatization of the story.

Maybe it was because I was distracted by other concerns, but the movie did not grip me, did not pull me into its world and keep me there, in the way I would like to experience a feature film.

I did appreciate the soundtrack and the jungle cinematography.

The film brought out some connections in the interconnecting family stories that I had not picked up in other retellings of the events. I was particularly moved by the scene when the surviving missionary families were together watching the film footage the dead missionaries had taken of the first contact. In that scene Dayumae, who at the beginning of the film had escaped spearing and had made her way to safety among the "outsiders", recognizes her own relatives whom she misses, but also comes to the realization that "my family killed your family."

The movie will be out in DVD so I will probably give it another try later when I am not distracted. With a running time of 111 minutes, this feature film is too long for the average church event.

So far, of the multimedia versions of this story, the ones that I can see myself using in ministry would be:
  • the documentary "Beyond the Gates of Splendor"
  • the interview with Steve Saint (an extra on "The Jim Elliott Story")
  • the interview with Marj Saint (an extra on "The Jim Elliott Story")
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